Find a Niche Step #3: Find Solutions to Promote (or Create Your Own)

how to find solutions to promote

Lesson Summary:

>> Once you’ve created your topics map of low-competition informational and commercial keywords, the final steps are to determine the:

  • Types of offers you’ll promote on your site; and
  • Best products within those offer types

>> Choosing the wrong types of offers can make a big difference to your site’s income, so it’s worth getting it right at the start

>>  The best types of offers to promote on a niche site are:

  • Affiliate products (physical and/or information)
  • Your own products (physical and/or information)
  • Ads
  • Lead generation
  • Services

>> Two ways to research the best Amazon affiliate products:

  • Amazon’s directory (free)
  • Viral Launch (paid tool)

>> The best way to research Clickbank affiliate products is by using the “Advanced search” function in Clickbank’s Marketplace

>> Creating an information product can be the most lucrative option for your niche site

At this stage of the niche-finding process, you’ve done the following:

  • Brainstormed a bunch of seed topics
  • Created your “topics map”, an inventory of the informational and commercial keywords in your niche
  • Zeroed in on the lowest-competition keywords

So you’ve found the demand in the niche – what people are looking for.

Now you need to figure out the best supply. What can you provide to your niche audience to satisfy their needs?

It’s worth taking a little time to think about this, because the offers you choose to provide to your audience can make a big difference in how much money you make.

There are two steps to do this:

A. Determine the best type of offer for your niche

  • Should you be promoting physical products as an affiliate? Promoting info products as an affiliate? Offering your own info product(s)? Offering services? Displaying ads? A combination of two (or three) types of offers?

B. Find the best products to promote (or create your own)

  • Can you promote offers that are both high-value (to please your audience) and high-priced (to fill your coffers)?

This is a step that a lot of new online entrepreneurs seem to trivialize, especially if they’re focused on affiliate marketing.

Big mistake. Here’s why…

Why the Types of Offers You Promote Make a Big Difference to Your Site’s Income

Why the Types of Offers You Promote Make a Big Difference to Your Site’s Income

You might think that the offers you promote on your niche site isn’t that big a deal…

Just slap up some affiliate products and call it a day, right?

Wrong!

For a simple reason: if what you’re offering on your site is not a close fit with the needs of your audience, they won’t buy what you’re selling.

Let me show with an example from my own business…

In my case study on selling two sites in 2018, I describe how adding a few Amazon affiliate links to existing pages instantly increased that site’s earnings:

Amazon earnings March3 May31

All I did to earn more money was add affiliate links to pages that were already published and getting organic traffic.

It literally took a couple of minutes to research relevant Amazon products and add affiliate links for those products to the articles.

Before I did that, those articles were monetized with Adsense ads – because the articles were informational (in other words, not product reviews or a round-up of the “best” products). So it didn’t even occur to me that I could monetize those pages with anything else but ads.

Here’s another example:

The other site I sold in 2018 was focused on government grants for homeowners. The site pulled together information on grants that was scattered across dozens of government websites.

A valuable resource for homeowners!

And homeowners have lots of money to spend, right? That site was monetized with Adsense ads, so I spent some time trying to figure out other types of offers that I could promote on the site.

I ended up with two new types of offers:

  • Amazon affiliate products. I researched products that were a tight fit with homeowners who were trying to save money
  • Information product. After surveying my email subscribers (I collected email addresses with a pop-up) I created an ebook that helped homeowners maximize the amount they could get in government grants

I promoted those two new types of offers like crazy – through my email autoresponder and with new content on the site.

The end result? Not much. I hardly made any money from those offers, despite trying for months.

I did end up scaling the site’s income, but I did so by switching to a better ads provider (Ezoic). Here’s what happened when I did that:

Adsense to Ezoic earnings increase

Why didn’t the Amazon affiliate products and ebook work? I can’t say with certainty, but I do have a strong assumption, based on email correspondence with some of the site’s readers…

It turns out that the majority of my active readers were retired, low-income seniors – so they didn’t have much money. Which is why they weren’t buying my ebook or Amazon product offers.

And which also explains why the clickthrough rate on my site’s ads was relatively high. The site’s audience was looking for anything that was FREE – and they’d click on an ad, because that didn’t cost them any money!

So what types of offers should you consider for your niche site? Let’s go through the options…

7 Best Types of Offers to Promote on Your Niche Site

There are a ton of ways to monetize a niche site (Empire Flippers has a good round-up and a solid ebook on the main online business models).

In this section I’ll cover the types of offers I think are the best, many of which I’ve used on my own sites. Here are the types of offers:

And here’s a brief description of each one:

Affiliate Products (Physical)

You might have heard of this website called “Amazon”? It’s pretty popular these days.

Amazon also has the largest affiliate program in the world, apparently. That’s because people buy lots of physical products online, and they buy many of them from Amazon.

What types of physical products? Everything you could imagine. Just take a look at Amazon’s directory and you’ll see everything from headphones to mattresses to lawn mowers selling like hotcakes.

Promoting Amazon products is one of the easiest ways to make money online, and it’s a great complement (if not primary monetization method) for many niches.

But there are a ton of other affiliate networks for physical products, ranging from musical instruments to pet supplies.

Some other big affiliate networks for physical products are:

Affiliate Products (Information)

An information product can be an ebook, instructional video, audio interview, template – basically anything that conveys information for the purpose of educating.

Whether someone else’s product or your own, selling information can be extremely lucrative, because an info product can cost very little to create, and the cost of selling an additional unit is zero (unlike a physical product, where you incur a cost to produce each additional unit).

Two of the biggest affiliate networks for information products are:

Your Own Product (Physical)

This is a massive (and massively growing) opportunity for online entrepreneurs who don’t mind getting their hands dirty and creating their own shippable product.

This is especially the case with an Amazon program called Fulfillment by Amazon. With that program, you have a “storefront” on Amazon, and Amazon stores and ships your products. All you have to do is get the products manufactured and sent to Amazon’s warehouses.

Besides Amazon FBA, another popular online business model for physical products is dropshipping, which involves shipping your products directly from the factory that manufactures them.

Keep in mind, too, that information products can be physical. I sell a print version of several niche info products, and I’ve found that adding a print version does not cannibalize sales of the digital version – it just increases overall sales (presumably because some people who buy the print version wouldn’t buy a digital version if that was the only option). 

Your Own Product (Information)

Your own info product can quickly skyrocket your income.

I know, because I’ve created and sold dozens of different info products in markets ranging from sleep disorders to government grants to goat farming (yes, really).

If you’re in a niche in which people can solve their problems through knowledge/education, you might be able to provide them with that knowledge via an info product.

I go a little deeper into info products at the end of this module. 

Ads

Ads are the way many niche site entrepreneurs got (and currently get) their start.

They’re dead-easy to implement - just add a few lines of code to your site and you’re making money.

I made money for years with only Adsense across multiple sites, and still make a little (although I’ve shifted to Amazon affiliate products and info products, because the EPV – earnings per visitor – tend to be higher).

If you want to learn from THE master of making money from ads, you need to check out Jon Dykstra’s FatStacksBlog. Lots of great content there.

Apparently, there are niche-specific ad networks, but I’ve never worked with any. I’ve worked with two of the following ad networks: 

  • Adsense. If you’ve been into online business for any length of time, you’ve heard of Adsense. Probably the easiest ad program to get into, but certainly not the highest earning.
  • Ezoic. A great alternative to Adsense if you have enough traffic (minimum requirement is 10,000 visitors per month, last time I checked).

    As mentioned in my case study, I significantly increased income (with the same amount of traffic) just by switching from Adsense to Ezoic.
  • Mediavine. I’ve never worked with Mediavine, but I include it here because I’ve read it’s a good “step up” from Adsense or Ezoic once your site has enough traffic (in other words, you can make more money. Spencer Haws has a good case study here.)

Lead Generation

Lead generation is when your site generates a “lead” for a business.

This typically happens when a person clicks a link on your site, is taken to a web form/application on a business’s site, and then fills in that web form/application.

You get paid when that form/application is submitted on the business’s site. Forms range from the simple (i.e. an email submit) to the more complex (i.e. a long application for a car loan or mortgage). The more complex the form, the higher your commission when a person completes and submits the form.

Some of the most popular and lucrative lead generation niches are insurance companies, legal services, and colleges. There’s also the local lead gen market, including local services like plumbers, electricians, etc.

Two of the more popular lead gen (and “cost-per-action”) networks are:
  • MaxBounty
  • Peerfly

Services

If you’ll be closely associating yourself with your niche site (some people choose to use a “persona” instead), one of the quickest ways to start making money is to offer services to your site visitors.

In fact, some successful affiliate marketers started making money online not through affiliate marketing, but by first offering SEO services to businesses in their local area. Daryl Rosser has interviewed many such people.

Some services you can include on your niche site include:

  • ?Coaching (one-on-one, small group, etc)
  • ?Done-for-you services (e.g. SEO, pay-per-click advertising)

So that wraps up some of the best types of offers you can promote.

But how do you know which types of offers are best for your specific niche? Let’s get into that…

How to Map Your Audience’s Needs to Solutions

Once you understand the problems of your niche, you need to find solutions to those problems that are as close a fit as possible...

Because if you can offer a solution (a product or service) that nails a niche audience’s problems, you won’t need to “sell” - all you’ll need to do is put that offer in front of them and they’ll buy.

Brief digression: I sometimes get into arguments debates over the importance of “sales vs marketing” in a business.

To me, “sales” is a nice word for trying to shove products down people’s throat - products that they don’t want. If someone can “sell ice to an Eskimo”, I say that person is a con artist, not a great salesman.

The following two quotes, from legendary business academics Peter Drucker and Theodore Levitt, sum up my perspective:

theodore levitt
“The difference between marketing and selling is more than semantic.

Selling focuses on the needs of the seller, marketing on the needs of the buyer.

Selling is preoccupied with the seller’s need to convert his product into cash; marketing with the idea of satisfying the needs of the customer by means of the product and the cluster of things associated with creating, delivering, and finally consuming it." 

Theodore Levitt, from the classic Harvard Business Review article Marketing Myopia

End of rant!

Now I’ll get into how to use research (marketing, not sales!) to figure out what to offer your audience…

How to Match Your Audience’s Needs with Irresistible Offers

How to Match Your Audience’s Needs with Irresistible Offers

Figuring out what to offer your audience is much easier when you have a good grasp of what their needs are.

And if you’ve gone through the process of creating a topics map for your niche, you should have that good grasp.

Your next step will be to take the low-competition keywords from your topics map and match those keywords with the most appropriate type of offer.

This should be obvious from the wording of each keyword. Here’s an example from the “dog exercises” niche that I’ve been using for this guide:

dog exercise allintitle keywords

These are all very low-competition keywords – some keywords only have one web page in Google’s index with the keyword in the page title! They’d be very easy to quickly rank for.

As you can see, the keywords are also very solution-oriented:

  • For the keywords that contain the words “best food”, searchers are obviously looking for product recommendations.

    When creating content targeting those keywords, I would promote affiliate products – the most appropriate dog food on Amazon or another pet affiliate program like Chewy.
  • For keywords that contain the word “toys”, I would create content that addresses the “intent” of each keyword (e.g. for the keyword “how to disinfect dog toys”, I would describe the best methods for disinfecting dog toys) and would put some ads on the page. (I could also promote the best dog toys within the article.)
  • The keyword that includes the words “how to train” is a great one to promote an info product on dog training (whether an affiliate product, or an info product that I create myself).

    Obviously, it might be hard to sell an info product that covers the narrow topic of sharing toys, but that could be one topic within a broader info product.

The bottom line is this – you want to provide offers on your site that are:

  • A close match with your audience’s needs
  • As profitable as possible for you

Two Popular Affiliate Programs to Start With

AMAZON
clickbank

If you’re overwhelmed with the number of “moving parts” involved in making money online, you might want to keep things simple at the beginning…

Which means focusing on one simple online business model (affiliate marketing + organic traffic) and choosing one affiliate program to start with.

Two of the most-popular affiliate programs are, without question, Amazon Associates and Clickbank.

With your topics map in hand, you’re in a good position to find the best products to promote in your articles. Let me show you how to find those best products…

How to Find the Best Amazon Affiliate Products to Promote

amazon associates logo

There are two methods I use to find the best products on Amazon to promote as an affiliate. One method is free, the other method uses a paid tool:

  • Amazon’s “Departments” directory (free)
  • Viral Launch (paid)

Any decent paid tool (like Viral Launch) is going to give you more actionable information than a free method like using Amazon’s directory.

So if you’re serious about building and scaling niche sites that are monetized with Amazon offers, you might want to budget for a paid tool. 

How to Find Affiliate Products Using Amazon’s Departments Directory

How to Find Affiliate Products Using Amazon’s Departments Directory

This method is as straightforward as it seems: browse through Amazon to find the best products.

But what does “best” mean? Let’s go through the steps to find out…

(For this example, I’ll be trying to find products that match the keywords from my topics map, e.g. “best food to feed a dog with liver problems”; “best dog food for malabsorption”; etc.)

  • Go to the Amazon Departments page
  • Click on the “Department” that best matches your niche. I want to find products related to dogs, so I’ll click on “Dogs” in the “Pet supplies” section:
How to Find Affiliate Products Using Amazon’s Departments Directory
  • When you’re in the “Dogs” section, there are two ways you can search:
    >>
    Enter your keyword into the search box; or
    >>
    Click one of the sub-departments in the left menu, then dig further
How to Find Affiliate Products Using Amazon’s Departments Directory

When I typed a variation of my keyword into the search box (“dog food liver problems”), this is what I got:

How to Find Affiliate Products Using Amazon’s Departments Directory

You can see that the search results page displayed one product that is specifically for liver problems in dogs.

The only problem with that product is it has no reviews. I only promote Amazon products that have a good number of reviews (50 is typically the minimum) with an average of at least four stars.

The good news is that there are other products that have a good number of 4+ star ratings – but those products don’t say in their product title that they specifically help with liver problems.

So I’ll have to click on each product title, go to the product page, and read the description for each product, to see if they specifically help liver problems.

Now let’s check out my favorite paid tool for Amazon product research…

How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

Viral Launch is an online suite of competitive intelligence tools for Amazon sellers.

While Viral Launch targets Amazon sellers, it’s also an excellent tool for Amazon affiliates to quickly find high-quality Amazon products to promote.

Here’s how to use Viral Launch to find Amazon affiliate products:

  • Once you’re logged into Viral Launch, in the left menu click on Product Discovery > Search. You’ll be taken to this screen:
How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

Once you’re logged into Viral Launch, in the left menu click on Product Discovery > Search. You’ll be taken to this screen:

  • Product search shows you all of the individual products that are selling in a particular product category on Amazon. The products that Viral Launch displays depends on the filters you select.
  • Keyword search allows you to search by keyword to find products that are selling on Amazon.
  • Brand search shows you all of the brands in a particular product category that are making sales on Amazon, based on the filters you set.
  • Category search shows you the sub-categories of products that are making sales in Amazon, based on your filters.

For finding the best affiliate products to promote, the most effective method is the Keyword search.

So click on the word “Keyword” at the top of the page to be taken to the Keyword search screen.

  • Under “Keyword Contains”, enter your search term.

    Keep in mind: if you type in a very specific keyword, Viral Launch won’t retrieve any results. When I entered the same keyword that I searched on Amazon (“dog food liver problems”), Viral Launch said “Your search criteria is too narrow”:
How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

Boo!!

But here’s the thing: I’ve tried other Amazon seller tools (like Jungle Scout) to try to find a tool that allows very specific keyword searches but haven’t been able to find one.

So…

  • Make sure to enter a broad search term. So instead of “dog food liver problems”, I’ll just go with “dog food”. Here’s what I found:
How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

I’ve sorted the results by “Avg Revenue”, which is the average monthly revenue going back 12 months.

You can see that Viral Launch is grouping product data related to keywords that people are typing into the Amazon search bar (Viral Launch also has a keyword research tool for Amazon).

There are some interesting things to note about the keywords alone:

  • A lot of people use the word “best” when looking for dog food, which shows that people’s searching habits on Amazon are the same as how they search on Google
  • A lot of people are looking for “grain free” dog food. I don’t know anything about dog food (or dogs, really) but I assume that means people are looking for “healthier” dog foods

Regardless, here’s the next step to find the best products for your keyword/topic:

  • Scan the results and click the “Market Intelligence” icon for the Keyword Search Term that is closest to your topic.

    When I scanned a little further down I came across the result “All Natural Dog Food”. That looked like a decent match for liver problems, so I clicked on the Market Intelligence icon and this is what I got:
How to Find Amazon Affiliate Products Using Viral Launch

There’s some really useful data here:

  • Monthly Revenue tells you how popular a product is
  • Last 12M Sales tells you how consistent sales have been
  • Date Listed shows you the staying power of a product (in my screenshot, you can see that the third product was listed in 2011. That means it’s been selling for nearly eight years. Good to know, because I don’t want to promote a new product that might be taken off the market)
  • Avg Rating shows you how good the product is
  • Price shows you which products can give you a higher affiliate commission

Based on just a quick glance at that screenshot, I’d definitely take a closer look at the third product (Blue Buffalo Wilderness dog food), because it’s been listed for a long time, has a solid average rating (4.3 stars), and has a relatively high price (which means higher affiliate commission).

There’s obviously a lot more filtering you can do using the Product Discovery tool (which is especially helpful when you’re trying to find list of products for “best” articles), but I’ll save that for another tutorial.

So that’s the quick-and-dirty on how to find Amazon products to promote as an affiliate. Let’s move on to Clickbank…

How to Find the Best Clickbank Products to Promote

How to Find the Best Clickbank Products to Promote

Clickbank has been around forever, and their Marketplace shows it – the Marketplace page looks like it was designed in the 1990s and stayed there.

But it’s also one of the best ways to find good info products to promote.

Here’s how to use the Clickbank Marketplace to find info products that you can promote as an affiliate:

  • Once you’re on the Marketplace page, click on the little (very little) “Advanced Search” link at the top-right of the page:
How to Find the Best Clickbank Products to Promote

The Advanced Search page allows you to filter for a bunch of criteria, but to keep the search broad (while also relevant) I focus on just a few:

  • Keywords: The Marketplace search function sucks (if I may be diplomatic), so use a broad keyword. I’ll use the word “dogs”.
  • Gravity: keep this low, but not zero. I usually use a gravity of 5 (I explain what gravity is, and how it’s often misinterpreted, below)
  • Avg $/sale: I usually choose a minimum of $30, in order to zero in on the products that have relatively high prices (and affiliate commissions)

Tip: High gravity does not mean a Clickbank product is good or worth promoting. It simply means that a bunch of affiliates are promoting the product and making sales. 

I’ve been a Clickbank vendor for ten years and none of my products have had a gravity higher than 12 – even though I’ve sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of those products. 

(Keep in mind Clickbank’s definition of “gravity”: the number of distinct affiliates who have made at least one sale in the past 90 days.)

So use this rule of thumb when looking at the gravity of a Clickbank product: the product should have some gravity (I use 5 as a minimum), but more important is: 

A. How closely the product fits the needs of your audience; and
B. The quality of the product

The latter is admittedly difficult to determine without buying the product, which is something you should consider doing.

Here are the criteria I entered:

How to Find the Best Clickbank Products to Promote

And here’s the page of results I got:

How to Find the Best Clickbank Products to Promote

A couple things to note here:

  • There are four solid product angles to promote here:
    1. “Brain training” for dogs;
    2. Dog food ideas;
    3. Stop your dog’s behavioral problems; and
    4. Dog training (overall)
  • One of the products (Doggy Dan’s Online Dog Trainer, which sounds like a double entendre to me) has a gravity of ~50 and a massive $111.18 average $/sale. That’s probably because it’s a “recurring” product, i.e. customers pay a monthly subscription fee.

    I would definitely be promoting this one. (I also know that this product has been around for years, which is another reason to promote it.)

The next step is to look at the sales page for each product – basically, to do a “gut check” to confirm that the product doesn’t look scammy.

I would then buy each product (through my affiliate link) in order to do a proper product review. 

If you do the same search yourself, you’ll see that the search function returns 7 results, but only 4 of the products have to do with dogs, which again shows you how crappy the Marketplace’s search function is.

(Or maybe not. The title of one of the other three products is “Secrets Men Don’t Want Women to Know”. I wonder if the search function included that product because men are dogs.)

That wraps up my quick overview of how to find Amazon and Clickbank affiliate products. There’s a ton more I could write on how to monetize a niche site, but I’ll finish with the most lucrative method…

The Holy Grail: Create Your Own Information Product

The Holy Grail: Create Your Own Information Product

One of the absolute best ways to make money online is to create your own info product.

What’s an info product? Here’s my definition:

An information product consists of structured knowledge that is meant to educate the customer in order to solve their problem.?????

Let me emphasize three key parts of that definition:

  • Structured knowledge. Pretty much everything you need to know about any topic is available on the internet. But that information is probably scattered all over the place. People will pay to have information presented to them all in one place, in a logical format.
  • Educate the customer. With any info product, you’re trying to convey information to the customer that will empower them with knowledge.
  • Solve their problem. This is the big one, of course. An information product needs to solve a narrowly-defined problem.

There are a crapload of reasons why your own info products are an awesome way to monetize your niche site:

  • High profit margins. Unlike physical products, the cost to create an info product is only incurred once - then it’s pure profit.

    Some of my info products have cost as little as $500 to create and have generated tens of thousands of dollars in revenue. Even crack houses and oil companies don’t get that kind of ROI.
  • Inexpensive to create. There’s no manufacturing process involved in creating an info product - it’s just information. Even if you choose to complement a digital info product with a print version of the product (using a fulfilment company like the one I use), the cost to print and ship is minimal.
  • Quick to create. If the knowledge required for an info product resides in your brain, you can bang out an ebook in a weekend (you don’t even have to write it – you can talk into an audio recorder and hire a freelancer to transcribe the recording for next to nothing). Or you can interview a handful of experts and the audio recordings are your product. Simple.
  • Automated. Once you’ve created the info product and written a sales page for your site, it’s just a matter of hooking up a shopping cart to the sales page (you can use Clickbank or Shopify for that)
  • Choose your price. Price is what the market is willing to pay, and what they’re willing to pay is based on perceived value. Increase the perceived value of your info product, and you can charge even hundreds of dollars for it.
  • Affiliates. Instead of being an affiliate for someone else, you can use a marketplace like Clickbank to attract your own affiliates.
  • Doesn’t matter how much traffic you have. This is huge, especially for newbies who are facing the biggest obstacle for a new niche site: getting traffic. Given the potentially large profit margins, only a small amount of (targeted) traffic is needed to quickly start making some money.

Without a doubt, info products are one of the best, most-lucrative types of product that you can promote.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the right types of offers and the best products to promote on your niche site can make a huge difference in earnings.

In this section I showed you what a big difference the right type of offer made to two of my own sites. We also covered how to match needs to offers, and I showed you how to find the best Amazon and Clickbank products to promote.

Finally, we discussed the many benefits of creating your own info product.

About the Author Moe Muise

I've been making money online since 2009 and have a passion for research. My focus is niche research: finding profitable niches, keyword research, and competition analysis, as well as creating outstanding content.

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